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In-clinic abortion is a very safe, simple, and common procedure. Serious problems are really rare, but like all medical procedures, there can be some risks.

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What are the possible risks of having an abortion?

In-clinic abortion is very common, and it’s one of the safest medical procedures you can get. Abortions are similar, in terms of level of risk, to other gynecological procedures that take place in doctor’s offices every day.

But like any medical procedure, there are some risks. The chances of problems gets higher the later you get the abortion, and if you have sedation or general anesthesia.

Serious complications are really rare, but can happen. These include:

  • the abortion doesn’t work and the pregnancy doesn’t end

  • some of the pregnancy tissue is left in your uterus

  • blood clots in your uterus

  • very heavy bleeding

  • infection

  • injury to your cervix, uterus or other organs

  • allergic reaction to medication

These problems are really rare, and they’re usually easy to treat. If your abortion doesn’t end your pregnancy or get all the pregnancy tissue out, you may need another procedure — but this isn’t common.

In extremely rare cases, some complications can be very serious or even life-threatening. Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • heavy bleeding from your vagina that soaks through more than 2 maxi pads in an hour, for 2 or more hours in a row

  • severe pain or discomfort in your belly that medication doesn’t help

  • a fever of 100.4 or higher

If you have bad smelling discharge from your vagina or signs that you are still pregnant, call and make an appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always call the 24/7 number that you get when you have your abortion.

Does abortion have long-term side effects?

In-clinic abortion procedures are common and effective, and millions of people have gotten these abortions safely.

Unless there’s a rare and serious complication that’s not treated, there’s no risk to your future pregnancies or to your overall health. Having an abortion doesn’t increase your risk for breast cancer or affect your fertility. It doesn’t cause problems for future pregnancies like birth defects, premature birth or low birth weight, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or infant death.

Serious, long-term emotional problems after an abortion are rare, and about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. They are more likely to happen in people who have to end a pregnancy because of health reasons, people who don't have support around their decision to have an abortion, or people who have a history of mental health problems. 

Studies show that most people feel relief after an abortion, but it’s also normal to have a range of emotions — everybody’s experience is different. You can call All-Options or Exhale for free, confidential, and non-judgmental emotional support after an abortion, no matter how you’re feeling. For spiritual support before, during, or after an abortion, check out Abortions Welcome.

There are many myths out there about the effects of abortion. Your nurse or doctor can give you accurate information about in-clinic abortion side effects, risks, or any other concerns you have.  

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